Fernanda Lastra was born in Mar del Plata, Argentina. As a passionate and creative conductor, she is interested in a wide variety of repertoire, including symphonic, contemporary, and operatic works.
Fernanda was appointed Conductor Diversity Fellow at the Buffalo Philharmonic in 2022 under the mentorship of JoAnn Falletta. In this role, Fernanda serves as the assistant conductor, cover conductor, and the main conductor for the BPO Kids series and Music for Youth concerts. Fernanda also serves as a member of the BPO’s artistic team, music education committee, and Diversity Council, among other responsibilities.
As a guest conductor, Fernanda has led professional and youth orchestras in the United States, Argentina, and Brazil. Some of her previous engagements include conducting the National Orchestra of Argentine Music "Juan de Dios Filiberto" at the CCK National Auditorium in Buenos Aires, and the production of Missy Mazzoli's opera, Song from the Uproar, in collaboration with Demaskus Theatre and Kassia Ensemble in Pittsburgh.
Fernanda served as Director of Orchestras at Augustana College in Rock Island, IL, leading their symphony and chamber orchestras from 2021 to 2022. She also served as Assistant Conductor for the University of Iowa Symphony Orchestra from 2018 to 2022; Principal Conductor for the Central Pennsylvania Youth Orchestra for 2016-2017; Professor of Orchestral Activities at El Sistema, Argentina from 2008-2012; and on the music faculty at La Plata National University from 2005 to 2016.
As a music entrepreneur and artistic director, Fernanda led an instrumental training ensemble she founded in Argentina in 2013 for four years. This project fostered community appreciation for classical music, with a broad repertoire and active participation in city festivals and cultural events. Fernanda is a passionate advocate for Latin American composers – especially those from Argentina. In 2020 Fernanda created Compositores.AR, a cycle of interviews of Argentinian composers in collaboration with the magazine MusicaClasicaBA in Buenos Aires.
Fernanda earned two bachelor’s degrees from La Plata University in orchestral and choral conducting, a master’s degree in orchestral conducting from Penn State University, and a doctoral degree from the University of Iowa. She is trained in piano and viola.
The Conductor Diversity Fellow is sponsored by Uniland.